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IP Watch: Recent Patents Related to PCR, Nucleic Acid Amplification, and Sample Prep: Apr 21, 2011

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Gen-Probe has been awarded US Patent No. 7,930,106, "Quantitative method employing adjustment of pre-defined master calibration curves."

James Carrick is named as inventor on the patent.

Describes methods and kits for preparing and adjusting pre-defined master calibration curves of the type used for quantifying analyte polynucleotides by real-time nucleic acid amplification. In particular, the patent discloses methods of preparing one or more master calibration curves on one instrument, and then using those curves on a different instrument.


Life Genetics and Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College have been awarded US Patent No. 7,927,841, "Assay for species sources."

Sudhir Sinha, Jaiprakash Shewale, Jerilyn Walker, and Mark Batzer are named as inventors on the patent.

Discloses a family of PCR assays for determining, both qualitatively and quantitatively, presence of material from a predetermined species source and for quantifying the amount of such material. The assays are based respectively on short interspersed elements that are uniquely characteristic of pig species, cow species, chicken species, and ruminant sub-order, and that have a high copy number. The assays permit rapid, inexpensive evaluation of meat samples to facilitate elimination from their diet of pork or beef by persons desiring to avoid such food sources; as well as the assay of cattle feed to determine the presence of ruminant-source proteins, which are a potential source of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. The assays amplify the predetermined unique SINEs and the resulting amplified mixture is then evaluated qualitatively by electrophoresis on gels containing ethidium bromide; or quantitatively by SYBR Green-based detection or TaqMan chemistry. The invention also extends to kits, primers, and other products used in connection with the assays. The amplicons are selected to be from about 100 bp to 170 bp long.


Agilent Technologies has been awarded US Patent No. 7,927,838, "Method for linear mRNA amplification."

Karen Shannon is named as inventor on the patent.

Provides methods for linearly amplifying mRNA to produce antisense RNA. The methods involve converting mRNA to double-stranded cDNA using a promoter-primer having a poly-dT primer site linked to a promoter sequence so that the resulting double-stranded cDNA is recognized by an RNA polymerase. The resultant double-stranded cDNA is then transcribed into antisense RNA in the presence of a reverse transcriptase that is rendered incapable of RNA-dependent DNA polymerase activity during this transcription step. The methods can be used in a variety of applications in which the preparation of linearly amplified amounts of antisense RNA is desired. The patent also provides kits for practicing the methods.


454 Life Sciences (Roche) has been awarded US Patent No. 7,927,797, "Nucleic acid amplification with continuous flow emulsion."

John Nobile, William Lee, and John Leamon are named as inventors on the patent.

Describes methods and devices/systems for amplifying genetic material, including providing a water-in-oil emulsion in a continuous flow. The emulsion may include a plurality of water droplets comprising microreactors, each of which may include a single bead capable of capturing a nucleic acid template, a single species nucleic acid template, and sufficient reagents to amplify the copy number of the template. The method also includes flowing the emulsion across a first temperature zone and a second lower temperature zone to thermally process the microreactors to amplify the nucleic acid template by PCR.

The Scan

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.

Study Reviews Family, Provider Responses to Rapid Whole-Genome Sequencing Follow-up

Investigators identified in the European Journal of Human Genetics variable follow-up practices after rapid whole-genome sequencing.

BMI-Related Variants Show Age-Related Stability in UK Biobank Participants

Researchers followed body mass index variant stability with genomic structural equation modeling and genome-wide association studies of 40- to 72-year olds in PLOS Genetics.

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.